Conference to share insights into the Delivery of Mega Events through Project Management

Mark de Leiburne.jpg

South Africa, and the city of Durban specifically, recently celebrated being awarded the bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games. This presents South Africa with an opportunity to once again display its project management skills in a similar fashion to how it delivered on the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

It is well understood that project management is the key discipline required for the development of the technological and physical infrastructure that such a significant event requires, but we aren’t always aware of the mixture of specialised disciplines involved in delivering the event itself, of which project management is perhaps the key component.

Octagon South Africa recently contributed to the marketing around the bid for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and has been instrumental in the delivery of many global sporting and entertainment events, including the 2010 FIFA World Cup and Coca Cola’s massive music festivals in South Africa. Managing Director for Global Events of Octagon South Africa, Mark de Leiburne, speaks of being ‘quietly’ proud of the mega events he and Octagon have delivered—‘quietly’ because they are seldom likely to receive national credit for such a project’s success—instead we tend to congratulate ourselves as a nation once we’re satisfied that the events we’ve hosted were successful.

De Leiburne will be a featured presenter at the upcoming Project Management South Africa (PMSA) conference taking place in Cape Town on 11 and 12 November 2015. The conference embraces the theme of the contribution of project management to economic growth. The bid announcement is a great example of how an event can contribute to this.

De Leiburne will also provide insights into some of the mega global events that have had us entranced for all the right reasons. “Outside of the project managers in our industry, no one really understands or appreciates what goes into project managing mega events and given the fluid nature of events one can imagine that there are things that don’t go to plan in the background, but what is paramount for us is that the ultimate experience or product is of the highest quality and the issues are absorbed and dealt with in the background and never taint the consumer experience,” says de Leiburne.

He adds that an aspect of project management unique to his industry as opposed to, for example, project management in the construction, IT and other technical industries, “Is that ours is based on human emotion and harnessing the power thereof, which entails exploiting the hero-worship value of sports teams and athletes, rock stars and the like, and also working integrally with the creative industry and the digital world to deliver a return on these fan passions. All of that speaks to the need to project manage some crazy creatives, mega personality ego’s and the ever evolving world of user generated content in social media.” “This cannot be achieved on a spreadsheet or Gantt chart!” he quips.

The PMSA conference in Cape Town will highlight good practices associated with the traditional sectors within which project management is practiced, as well as the ‘new’ industries benefitting from project methodologies and competencies, including event management and film-making, to name just two.

To register to attend the conference, visit the PMSA website at

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